Don’t make the mistake, dear reader, of judging a badger by its nomiker: this one’s no honey. Named for their predilection for eating honeycombs pilfered from beehives, Mellivora capensis is also famous as a snake-killer. The honey badger uses its jaws to grab a snake behind its head and kill it, and can devour a snake measuring up to 5 feet in length in a mere 15 minutes. 15 minutes. Piggy little honey badger.
The badger’s prey is hardly limited to honey and snakes, however. Consider the following list: earthworms, insects, scorpions, porcupines, hares, ground squirrels, meerkats, mongooses, tortoises, crocodiles up to one metre in size, young gazelle and snakes (including venomous species), lizards, frogs, small rodents, birds and fruit. Goodness. (GAZELLE??? CROCODILES???)
A National Geographic documentary, “Snake killers: Honey badgers of the Kalahari”, documented a badger snatching a meal out of a puff adder‘s mouth, after which he casually ate the purloined prey, and, insatiable, turned to stalk the deadly snake itself. This bold item managed to kill the snake, and even to begin eating it, but having been bitten, collapsed on the dead snake mid-chew. Cameramen were shocked, however, when the badger awoke 2 hours later, finished his meal and went on his merry way.
Construction workers, take note: watch who you call honey. It may be the last thing you do.